Regulators & stakeholders
The water industry is highly regulated to ensure you receive the very highest standards of service.
The three government bodies which regulate the industry are the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), and the Environment Agency.
We also work with a number of other regulatory bodies, such as the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) and Natural England and Public Health England.
The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.
It exercises its powers in a way that it judges will protect the interests of consumers, promote value and safeguard future water and sewerage services by allowing efficient companies to carry out their functions properly, and finance them.
Every five years, all the water and sewerage companies in the UK submit a draft business plan to Ofwat which sets out how much each company will need to charge for water in order to meet their customers’ needs and the needs of the environment while continuing to deliver a safe and reliable service.
Drinking water quality in England and Wales is regulated by the government through the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).
Its main job is to check that the water companies in England and Wales supply water that is safe to drink and meets the standards set in the Water Quality Regulations.
Its inspectors carry out technical audits of each water company. These have two main parts:
- An annual assessment of the quality of drinking water supplied by the companies
- Inspections of the individual companies
The audits include the results of the millions of tests made each year to see if the water meets the standards.
It also carries out inspections to be sure that the results are reliable and give a true picture of the quality of the water supplied.
It is the Environment Agency’s job to look after your environment and make it a better place– for you, and for future generations.
Specifically, it seeks to maintain and improve the quality of 'raw' water in England and Wales, and is responsible for issuing water companies with abstraction licenses.
The Environment Agency is concerned with the quality of fresh surface and underground water, marine and estuarial waters, and strives to prevent and reduce the threat of water contamination.
We work closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that any impact we may have upon the environment is kept to a minimum.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) represents water and sewerage consumers in England and Wales.
They provide a strong national and regional voice for consumers through close working relationships with the water industry and other key stakeholders in England and Wales.
Their job is to make sure that the collective voice of consumers is heard in national water debate and that consumers remain at the heart of the water industry.
They will also take up your complaint if you have tried and failed to resolve your issue with us.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) works for the essentials of life - food, air, land, water, people, animals and plants. It pursues sustainable development - weaving together economic, social and environmental concerns.
Natural England is the government’s adviser on the natural environment, providing practical scientific advice on how to look after England's landscapes and wildlife.
We work closely with Natural England on biodiversity initiatives and the management of the many Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that we own.
We also seek its advice over wildlife issues connected with our capital investment programme, for example when working to avoid adverse impacts on protected species and their habitats.
Public Health England works to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.
They provide us with support and advice in safeguarding public health and work closely when an incident is reported to protect and inform the public, especially vulnerable groups.
The Customer Challenge Group - what we call 'the independent customer panel' - is the panel set up to represent customers in both our Cambridge and South Staffs regions.
It provides independent challenge to us and assurance to the regulator Ofwat on the quality of our customer engagement - and the degree to which this engagement is driving decision making in our business planning. As such, it is an important part of the regulatory framework.
Find out more about our Customer Challenge Group here.